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Observation as a Tool of Inquiry Essay

The following characteristics I will describe in video clips one, three, four, and seven of the chapter one lab activity will help me identify and rank which of the people in these four videos is the most developmentally advanced, specifically in the motor skill of throwing a ball. First, I will identify the most proficient ball thrower and then create a developmental “throwing continuum” from the most to least advanced. Following this continuum, the constraints important to the throw will be explained as well as how a change in one constraint might change the throwing pattern.

On my “throwing continuum” the number one is the lowest rank, meaning least developmentally advanced, in contrast with the number four ranking most developmentally advanced. Chapter One Lab Activity “throwing continuum” is visually represented bellow:

Ranking: 1 2 3 4

Video clip #: #7 #1 #3 #4

This representation displays that the person in video clip number four is the most developmentally advanced at the motor skill of throwing a ball, followed by video clip number three as the second most advanced, then video clip number one coming in third, and lastly video clip number seven ranked number one on the “throwing continuum,” as the least proficient.

What makes these videos distinguishable in terms of developmental advancement are the characteristics of each person’s throw. Video clip number seven ranked the lowest on the continuum because he showed a lack of experience expressed in characteristics such as the loss of balance, shallow throw, slight tilt of the ankle, and using a larger ball. Video clip number one was ranked second because considering his feet stayed stationary and together, and that he reached the ball behind his head to gather speed, make it evident that he is still primitive; yet, maintaining his balance regardless of his knees rocking back and forth after casting the ball, shows a higher developmental ranking than the child in video clip number seven.

The second most advanced thrower is in video clip number three. Characteristics that show some signs of experience are his comfort casting the ball at a jogging start, the shift of weight between his legs before throwing, and the actual height and distance of the throw. However, his loss of balance shows lack of developmental advancement. What distinguishes the person in video clip four as the most developmentally advanced is the standing start with a single step forward for force, the height of the throw, and how balance is maintained throughout.

Multiple constraints may be important to the throw. An example of a (structural) individualistic constraint would be limb length. Perhaps if the person in video clip number three did not have such long legs he may not have lost his balance after his throw. An environmental constraint of importance would be wind. If wind is interfering with a throw, it is likely that the target will be missed. Another example would be if the thrower in video clip number three were to have his jogging start on a slippery floor. In this scenario the thrower would most likely fall, undoubtedly changing the throwing pattern. In a separate scenario, if the target on the receiving end of the throw is stationary and then begins to shuffle from side to side this would increase the difficulty level for the thrower, epitomizing a task constraint.

The observations I have made in this assignment were both displayed in a table and supported through explanations describing various characteristics that proved the validity of my “throwing continuum” rankings. Individual, environmental, and task constraints can all be important to the motor skill of throwing. Through using the element of observation as a tool of inquiry, I have reinforced that my statements are credible.


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